Lagos – Sergey Bubka’s campaign to be the next President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) gathered momentum on Friday, as four countries publicly promised to vote him in.
The election is scheduled to hold in the Beijing, the Chinese capital.
This is contained in the latest publication of an online portal, Insidethegames’.
Sebastian Coe, his rival, however, also collected another endorsement as Ghana became the first African country to offer him their backing.
The countries that publicly endorsed Bubkar are Paraguay, Peru, Singapore and Thailand. They all threw their support behind Bubka, the Ukraine’s 1988 Olympic pole vault champion.
These countries added their names to Kazakhstan, which had said last week they would back him.
Ghana, meanwhile, became the 23rd country to support Coe, Britain’s double Olympic 1,500 metres gold medalist.
Bubka was always widely expected to earn the support of most of the 13 South American countries eligible to vote in the election in Beijing on Aug. 19.
“We trust your notion of service and we want to collaborate in narrow form with you in the search of the construction of an athletics that reaches other levels in this new era,’’ Oscar Fernandez, President of the Peruvian Athletics Sport Federation, wrote in a letter to Bubka obtained by insidethegames
Myrta Doldán, President of the Paraguayan Federation of athletics, also came out in support for Bubka.
“As President of the Paraguayan Federation of Athletics I will give my full support and wish him every success next week in Beijing,’’ she said.
Sergey Bubka has earned the backing of Singapore Athletics for his campaign to become the next President of the International Association of Athletics Federations following a series of visits to the country
The backing for Bubka from the South American countries is no surprise but Coe will be disappointed at the decision of the Singapore Athletics not to support him.
Singapore, as a Commonwealth country, would have been a prime target for the former London 2012 chairman.
Singapore Athletics President Tang Weng Fei, however, has decided to endorse Bubka.
“Both are pretty good candidates, and have developed excellent manifestos,” Tang, who is himself running for the position of treasurer at the IAAF elections, told The Straits Times.
“Having read through both very thoroughly, SA will endorse Bubka as IAAF President,’’
“This is a time when we are faced with serious challenges, and we believe Sergey has the commitment, diplomacy, and deep understanding of the sport to take it to new heights.’’
Tang revealed he had been impressed by Bubka when he addressed the nine Southeast Asian countries during a visit to Singapore last December, a month before he officially announced he would be standing for the IAAF Presidency.
“While he was here, there was no mention of votes,’’ Tang said, stressing, “It was a simple question-and-answer session.
“He also has tailor-made programmes, and we believe he has the qualities to actually implement them.’’
Thailand, another of those countries Bubka addressed, have also decided to support him.
In another boost for Bubka’s campaign, the Monaco Athletics Federation revealed they have not promised Coe their vote, as had been claimed by Jonas Egilsson, President of the Athletic Association of Small States of Europe (AASSE).
Egilsson, who is also head of the Iceland Athletic Federation, had claimed the six countries that make up the AASSE would vote for Coe en bloc.
“No consultation was held within the AASSE regarding the choice of the future President of the IAAF, and this is not the purpose of this Association to host such consultations,’’ Bernard Fautrier, vice-president of the Monaco Athletics Federation, told insidethegames.
“The Monaco Federation of Athletics will make, freely and independently, the choice of the President that it estimates will have the best position to lead the IAAF at the elections on Aug. 19 during the Congress in Beijing.’’
Coe, however, remains the front-runner and favourite to succeed Lamine Diack, who is stepping down after 16 years, as IAAF President.
He traveled to Beijing on Friday buoyed by the knowledge that he was guaranteed his first vote from Africa, a continent that is seen as a key battleground in the campaign. (NAN)